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Sealants: Protecting the Biting Surfaces of Your Teeth

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What is a sealant?

Sealants are a special type of composite restoration that fill in the grooves on the biting surface of your tooth, making the tooth more decay-resistant.

 

Why do I need sealants?

Most people have grooves on their teeth that, at their deepest part, are inaccessible with a toothbrush. These areas very commonly decay and need fillings because the patient is unable to keep them clean. A sealant fills in these grooves with filling material to keep the plaque and bacteria out.

 

How are sealants placed?

The dentist will sometimes widen the grooves slightly to ensure that the bottom of the groove can be cleaned. Then the tooth is cleaned, composite is placed in the grooves, and the composite is cured with a specific wavelength of light. In most cases, anesthetic is not necessary.

 

Advantages:

The cost involved in placing sealants is much more economical than repairing decay.

 

Disadvantages:

Sealants wear out over time and need to be replaced every few years. Also, sealants only protect grooved areas, so proper home care and regular dental visits are still important.

 

Other possible treatments:

There are no alternatives to sealants. Once a tooth develops decay, it will need to be filled.

 

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